Definition of dignity in English:


nounPlural dignities

mass noun
  • 1The state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect.

    ‘the dignity of labour’
    • ‘It is well understood that honour and dignity are more important than everything.’
    • ‘The solemnity and dignity of the occasion were marred by this imperial affront to the former colonies.’
    • ‘The dignity of the Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Home Department is upheld once more.’
    • ‘Their titles, their influence, and their claims to dignity and honour are now precarious.’
    • ‘She has an undefinable quality and she stands for dignity and respect.’
    • ‘For one thing, we intuitively respected the inherent dignity of one another.’
    • ‘Apart from that, she was a picture of dignity and grace, with the kind of beauty that grew resplendent with age.’
    • ‘He ruled until his retirement in 2004 at the age of 38, a reign graced as much by dignity as by destructive potency.’
    • ‘The devil stripped us of every thing, even the little respect and dignity we had as Aboriginal people.’
    • ‘Sheila said he had been a gentleman, a man of dignity and integrity, who always had a smile on his face and was proud to be from York.’
    • ‘Most Great Danes, the second tallest of all the dog breeds, carried an air of dignity and nobility.’
    • ‘This pumpkin has a great more dignity and gravitas than some goofy pumpkin with a toothy grin and a stupid hat.’
    • ‘Other positions, however, were related more to the quality and dignity of human life.’
    • ‘He exuded dignity and gravity and he was courteous to counsel and witnesses alike.’
    • ‘The Khyber Pass itself is a place of rich history, wild majesty and unique cultural dignity.’
    • ‘He will be remembered by those who worked with him as a man of integrity, dignity and honesty, and he had many other virtues as well.’
    • ‘Of course, he did have style, if a bit pompous; he gave the ceremony its minimal dignity.’
    • ‘But she rises above that, to show that even in misery there can be dignity and nobility.’
    • ‘This government is selling out the honour and dignity of the country.’
    • ‘This White House came to Office on a platform of restoring honour and dignity to the White House.’
    1. 1.1count noun A high rank or position.
      ‘he promised dignities to the nobles in return for his rival's murder’
      • ‘The portentous dignities bestowed upon officials and sympathizers were partly for Roman consumption, setting him up as arbiter of status and palace-based master of the city.’
      • ‘Later he was accused of plotting against Justinian and stripped of his dignities.’
      • ‘The Anglican world today is seeking to invest the office with dignities and responsibilities that go well beyond its actual place in civil and canon law.’
      • ‘As he says, ‘I would not change my life for any of the greatest dignities on earth.’’
      • ‘This is the sort of person who steps up to the plate when offices and dignities are being passed around.’
      • ‘It angers me that the powers-that-be can suddenly find the money to spend on cleaning up places when dignities come to call.’
      • ‘Clergy and laity had to be interdependent, but by the early 19th cent. both groups were asserting their rights and dignities.’
      • ‘Many of the beneficiaries of this system were appointed very young after truncated studies, lightning ordination, and rapid progress through a hierarchy of lesser dignities.’
      • ‘As for him, he believed the Quakers to be those agents of the devil foretold in the New Testament, who ‘despise dominion and speak evil of dignities.’’
      • ‘Parochial dignities and influence are no substitute for discipleship in the world.’
      • ‘William had impoverished himself in the service of the Crown whilst Treasurer of Scotland, leaving a debt of more than £80,000 which King James owed to his son John, when he was restored to his dignities in 1592.’
      • ‘I pray for the day when I can return home and take up my dignities again.’
      • ‘He cultivated an image of Olympian detachment by scrupulously protecting the respective ranks and dignities of the grandees.’
      • ‘Dealing with the item, the Mayor completely forgot the dignities of the office he holds as a neutral guardian of the rights of each citizen in his haste to score a personal rebuff.’
      high rank, high standing, high station, status, elevation, eminence, honour, glory, greatness, importance, prominence, prestige
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  • 2A composed or serious manner or style.

    ‘he bowed with great dignity’
    • ‘Of course people should be able to deal with each other in a manner of dignity and respect.’
    • ‘Joanna did herself proud, showing that Polish youth can carry themselves with dignity and decorum all over the world.’
    • ‘Facing us across the table, his expression solemn, he read the words of the ceremony slowly and with dignity.’
    • ‘Most of us are able to deal with life with grace and dignity and when we don't, it worries us and we try to work it out.’
    • ‘I hope the old fella remembers that he acted with dignity and honour at a time of extreme pressure.’
    • ‘But now it is gone and we should lament its passing with all the solemnity and dignity such an occasion deserves.’
    • ‘So, you know, she's handled all of those situations with such dignity and grace.’
    • ‘At all times she managed to do all of it with great dignity and integrity.’
    • ‘However, they also noted that the public had praised staff, saying they treated patients with dignity and respect and were polite and caring.’
    • ‘However, if their children get in one of these schools they are treated with honour and dignity.’
    • ‘He will have to explain his motives exceptionally well - something he has thus far failed to do - and concede with grace and dignity.’
    • ‘Patients identified being treated with respect and dignity as very important.’
    • ‘They are a tall, noble people who move with grace and dignity, covering the ground, however rough, with apparently effortless ease.’
    • ‘With grace, dignity and a heartbreaking absence of despair, she pulls the blanket around herself.’
    • ‘You lead a wholesome and healthy life, with dignity and honour.’
    • ‘He handed her the rose with all the dignity that such a serious occasion demanded before getting rather unsteadily to his feet.’
    • ‘I just request that we try to treat this proceeding with some dignity and some decorum.’
    • ‘He was always for better relations with Pakistan, and for allowing the people of Kashmir to live with dignity and honour.’
    • ‘You need to be able to treat both with respect and dignity.’
    • ‘We are committed to treating all persons under coalition control with dignity, respect and humanity.’
    stateliness, nobleness, nobility, majesty, regalness, regality, royalness, courtliness, augustness, loftiness, exaltedness, lordliness, impressiveness, grandeur, magnificence
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    1. 2.1 A sense of pride in oneself; self-respect.
      ‘it was beneath his dignity to shout’
      • ‘Do you think the notion that it's beneath the dignity of a serious writer to cater for something like television has simply vanished?’
      • ‘Men lose their capacity for self-improvement along with their sense of individual dignity.’
      • ‘I can ask that the searches and scrutiny be done in a professional manner, with no insults and nothing that offends my dignity.’
      • ‘In the two-spirited world I have stumbled on, I found that this group maintains a sense of family and a sense of dignity.’
      • ‘But you have no right simply to dismiss it as irrelevant or beneath your dignity.’
      • ‘That deputy violated my civil rights, demeaned my character, and has done serious damage to my dignity.’
      • ‘Asked by the castle guard to read his work, the poet refuses because it is beneath his dignity to perform in the open air.’
      • ‘The higher castes despise manual work and consider it beneath their dignity.’
      • ‘Nearly all the women would consider it quite beneath their dignity to go into the kitchen even to supervise it.’
      • ‘But on the other hand, that is what poverty does to us in the global south; it makes you lose your sense of dignity and pride.’
      • ‘They have the right to their own pride and dignity.’
      • ‘I paused outside the carved double doors, gathering my dignity and composure around me like a shield.’
      • ‘She was missing one shoe, but she seemed to consider it beneath her dignity to limp.’
      • ‘Many operations like radical prostatectomies or radical mastectomies rob patients of their dignity and their quality of life.’
      • ‘Once we realize this truth, we are unlikely to contaminate ourselves by behavior beneath our dignity.’
      • ‘It was beneath my dignity to watch him leave, but for some reason I wished I could.’
      • ‘This can only enhance an individual's sense of self-worth and dignity.’
      • ‘Naturally, flying in one of those ancient ships was beneath his dignity.’
      • ‘An innate sense of pride and dignity sets them apart from the crowd.’
      • ‘Imagine losing a lifetime of memories, your dignity and your sense of pride.’
      self-esteem, self-worth, self-respect, pride, morale
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  • stand on one's dignity

    • Insist on being treated with due respect.

      • ‘‘Wet people,’ she declared, ‘cannot stand on their dignity.’’
      • ‘If these dignitaries are going to stand on their dignity they'll be history.’
      • ‘He replied that he didn't stand on his dignity but that he needed some notice in order to respond to such matters.’
      • ‘First, the Lord Advocate stood on his dignity and solemnly intoned that such an idea was an affront to his independence as a law officer charged with the duty of deciding who to prosecute without fear or favour.’
      • ‘He stood on his dignity, told me I was a superficial clown and that he wanted no more to do with me.’
      • ‘We know he stands on his dignity, but do we know what, if any, policy the Labour Party has.’
      • ‘But the sad truth is that the people who are most desperate to work are the least likely to stand on their dignity.’
      • ‘He stood on his dignity and demanded an apology.’
      • ‘Malice, impatience and contempt were unknown to him; he would never take offence or stand on his dignity.’
      • ‘Accuse someone of being a liar and it's almost guaranteed to put the nastiness of any debate up another level and require people to ‘stand on their dignity.’’


Middle English: from Old French dignete, from Latin dignitas, from dignus ‘worthy’.